New London-wide campaign launched to try and tackle air pollution caused by idling engines
A new London-wide campaign has been launched this week to encourage operators to tackle air pollution caused by idling engines. The call for action comes amid emerging evidence that air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of Covid-19 due to damage caused to the lungs.
The Idling Action Project, jointly led by the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Camden, and supported by the Mayor of London, has been running since 2016.
Its #enginesoff campaign asks firms to pledge that their fleet drivers and other employees will not leave their engines on when parked, with 30 London local authorities joining forces in a bid to cut dangerous vehicle emissions. As part of the #EnginesOff pledge, Idling Action is offering London drivers free training and providing a toolkit of resources to businesses, whose operations involve vehicle fleets, professional drivers or employees who travel by car to work. The group is aiming to arm companies with the knowledge of how best to reduce air pollution caused by vehicles to protect the health of drivers and the public.
Keith Bottomley, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, said: “64,000 people die prematurely every year in the UK from breathing polluted air. Switching off the engine when your vehicle is parked is more important now than ever before. As we learn more about the harmful effects of Covid-19 on the lungs, we are making a particular plea to London’s businesses to play their part in ridding the capital of toxic air and saving lives.”
There has already been support for the campaign, with Veolia’s Central London contracts with City of London Corporation, Camden and Westminster among the first to pledge their support for the campaign.
Michael Clarke, general manager for Veolia Central London, said: “Preventing engine idling is already high on our agenda and joining the Idling Action campaign demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating a greener and more sustainable city. Veolia is investing in zero-emission electric vehicles, as well as trialling alternative fleet solutions, to support the improvement of air quality and avoid pollution. We continue to work closely with our teams to ensure that engines are only running when necessary and are switched off when not in use.”
Construction company Mace are among some of the others who have signed up to the initiative and said it will be training its logistics suppliers to ensure they observe the no idling call.
Omar Rouchdy, Mace’s senior sustainability manager, said: “A clean work environment and work processes makes for a safer and healthier workplace. Given that poor air quality is one of the biggest killers in the UK, reducing harmful emissions on site can help reduce the risk of respiratory problems for people who work on site and the communities we work in. Mace will work with the Idling Action Project to deliver anti-idling training to our colleagues and those who work for our supply chain, equipping them with the knowledge needed to reduce unnecessary air pollution. Asking drivers not to idle is a simple action which can help to protect the health of those working on site and the local community."
Deputy mayor for environment and energy Shirley Rodrigues, said: “City Hall is happy to support this important pan-London campaign to tackle engine idling. As London recovers from Covid-19, it’s vital that businesses and other drivers in the capital consider the health of others and take this simple but vital step towards cutting air pollution.”
As well as asking businesses to pledge, the partner local authorities own fleets will be taking part in driver training and taking the #EnginesOff pledge.
More information on the campaign can be found on the Idling Action website here.